Question 1You always save money when you purchase the large economy-sized products instead of the smaller packaged products.
The misconception that the bigger the packaging the better the cost makes it easy for companies to slide hidden hikes in the price on a per unit basis. Sometimes this hike can be as high as 50 percent. Products to watch closely include canned items and paper products such as toilet tissue.
Question 2The layouts of grocery stores are designed to enable customers to find their way around easily and find what they need quickly.
Many grocery stores are purposely laid out to encourage customers to wander through the aisles. That is why many times the items most often purchased are placed the furthest away from the door. Imagine if milk was right next to the "less than 10 items" checkout aisle. Wow! We might miss grabbing the chocolate pudding we really don't need or the bag of chips that jumped in the cart on the way to the back to grab a gallon of milk.
Question 3Prices on products at grocery stores are based on a cost calculation which creates a consistent mark-up on over 75 percent of the products that are available. This markup will fluctuate during promotional times for certain products, such as bread crumbs during Thanksgiving might be priced competitively at a lesser cost than normal.
Most grocery stores will fluctuate marking up prices anywhere from 5 to 20 percent although giving the illusion that many more items are falling in the 5 percent range. Only by doing some arithmetic can shoppers decipher which products are real deals. That is why a small calculator is the savvy shopper's 'must have' tool of the trade.
Question 4Store brands are often made and packaged by national brand manufacturers.
Several store brands are made by companies that make the same more expensive brand with eye appealing packaging. Often times what is inside of the two packages is virtually identical. Why the cost difference? More appealing and expensive packaging coupled with advertising expenses go into figuring the markup on the product.
Question 5Grocery stores can offer convenience type non-food items at a lesser cost than drugstores due to the volume of products that they purchase. Items such as car products, small appliances, personal care items and medication are generally very competitive in price to those found at other stores.
Buyers beware! Over the past decade, a popular trend in supermarkets is the added areas of the stores designed as a convenience to the shopper. Products such as home care items (hardware), medicine, school supplies and seasonal items can be found throughout most supermarkets. However, this is also the place where consumers will find products with the highest markup in the store. A quick trip to Wal-Mart or similar discount stores for non-food products will save you money in the end.